Frenkie de Jong Says He Held Talks with Man City, PSG Before Barcelona Transfer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 20: Frenkie de Jong of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Ajax v SC Heerenveen at the Johan Cruijff Arena on January 20, 2019 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Frenkie de Jong has said he held talks with both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain before agreeing to sign for Barcelona.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the Ajax starlet will join the Blaugrana at the end of the campaign, putting an end to months of speculation regarding his future.

Speaking about his decision, De Jong told broadcaster NOS that Barca weren't the only interested party, revealing he held talks with the English and French champions before settling on a switch to La Liga (h/t Sacha Pisani of Goal).

"I spoke to PSG, yes. I rang Maxwell to tell him I was not joining them and my agent informed PSG. I also spoke with [Pep] Guardiola about a move to Man City.

"Clubs all try to convince you when they want you. I am happy and proud that they did so much to get me. Barcelona have wanted me for a long time, they already tried to sign me last year. But they also have their financial situation, they can't just spend loads of money."

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 20: Frenkie de Jong of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Ajax v SC Heerenveen at the Johan Cruijff Arena on January 20, 2019 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

As Pisani relayed, Barcelona's belief in De Jong prompted them to spend an initial €75 million (£65 million) on the 21-year-old.

Barcelona posted the following clip of their new acquisition on Wednesday, while club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was clearly pleased the club managed to get its man:

It's not a surprise that De Jong was coveted by some of the biggest clubs on the planet, as he has developed a reputation as one of football's standout young players.

The Netherlands international operates with such maturity, this season progressing from centre-back into a role at the base of midfield. From there, he is able to take possession from defenders and knit together attacks.

The technical ability, awareness and vision De Jong has is indicative of a player who has spent time at Ajax during his youth development—he moved to the Amsterdam giants in 2015—and traits that align well with Barcelona's ethos.

Per WhoScored.com, De Jong is able to wriggle away from challenges and advance possession in the final third too:

Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge noted the Dutchman will be part of an exciting stable of midfielders at Barcelona:

PSG and City are both naturally appealing destinations for any young player. In Paris, De Jong would have been operating alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, while at City, a player with his skill set would surely have thrived under the guidance of a coach like Guardiola.

Still, Barcelona carry a gravitas those clubs can't match, and the prospect of being the midfield linchpin at the Camp Nou for years to come will be an exciting challenge for De Jong. Given his talent and temperament, there appears to be little doubt that he will thrive.

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